Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Clarity from the Inside

Finally some Sanity. K.C. Pralhad, President of the Nepal America Foundation speaks his mind. This is a man who actually visits Nepal regularly; not one of those spoiled sons-of-priveledge-expatriot-democracy-and-Koirala-made-us-rich-Nepalis that clog the blogospere with their tripe.

So, hear the voices of actual people in Nepal; read this link:



Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Autocrat or Democrat?

Even though King G. may be a bit clueless about what to do next, he at least appears to be trying. His tour of Western Nepal goes above and beyond the call of duty for your average "despot."

Blogdai says, why bother to do all the visiting if you're just headed back towards the Panchayat days as everyone says? To top it off, ol' G seems to be the only one in Nepal who understands democracy. No, really. In his speech in Kalikot he mentions perhaps one of the biggest reasons for democracy's failure in Nepal: apathy.
"Development works with the people's participation are always fruitful," the King said, adding, "the February 1 move is for ending terrorism and increasing people's participation."
Right on the nose, G. Democracy needs the active participation of all its citizens in order to work. An active citizenry would have shut down Koirala years ago.

He further states that a "mature" democracy should take the place of the past fiasco and democratic charade of a governmental mess. Sound like an Autocrat to you?

Let's look at the other end of things. Today ol' Girija said he refuses to do a very democratic thing and give up some power through simple party elections saying through his aids that "..collective leadership would be counter-productive for the party. "It leads to formation of different power centers and ultimately promotes groupism in the party," said Laxman Ghimire, a NC Central Working Committee member and confidante of Koirala.

Now wait a minute, are not "collective leadership," "different power centers," and "groupism" hallmarks of a functioning representative democracy that is full of checks and balances? No, old Girija just does not want to give up an ounce of power. He is saying that the NC chairman's word is law and everyone should follow obediently. Sound like a democrat to you?

Blogdai says this: Girija, you can't hide under the cloak of democracy any more. Step down, get out, retire to the India you love, and fade away. You are harming the people of Nepal and acting very much like the autocratic King you so often criticize. You and your clan should be banished from politics and Nepal forever. Leave us alone.

To the King: Get someone smart on your staff before you blow the whole thing. Show a little action to go with your knowledge of democratic principles and the world will let you be.

To you lazy pundits: Blogdai is tired of your constant democracy drumbeat. It only hides your lack of research. You would restore a government that is as autocratic and power hungry as Girija has demonstrated ;and that is now rabidly chasing an alliance with terrorists all so you can feel that your limited grasp of "democracy" is served? Wake up, do your research, and stay out of Nepal with your blind simplicity.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A Nepal for Nepalis

Let's put our heads together on this one: New laws and practices for a New Nepal. Blogdai will start the show with ideas: some constitutional, some pragmatic, some very undemocratic, that could be useful in carving out a new system for Nepal. Add you own ideas in the threads and we'll post them here. No rules say you have to make the ideal Western-style democracy either. Let's make one with Nepali sensibilities for a change. Here we go:


1. Create, by constitutional ammendment, a permanent, impartial board that enforces transparency in all financial dealings of ministers. Government service should be looked upon as a duty and a priveledge. Take away the incentives to steal by keeping the money out of corrupt hands. Have this board monitor the movement of all money and property. Question any politician that undergoes a noticeable increase in personal wealth while in office.

2. Allow the presence of an independent mediation board. Perhaps a UN sponsored, or other third-party, group to break stubborn political impasses. Political parties can argue and posture all they want for, say, 30 days over an issue. If there is no concensus in that time, the independent board steps in for immediate mediation and resolution of the issue.

3. Ban all corrupt former officials from holding office. Keep the party system, but get rid of the Nepal's, Oli's, and anyone named Koirala.

4. Create a permanent liason committee charged with interfacing with the King. Keep him in the loop and informed. Hold regular press briefings on this interaction.

5. Restore Parliament with citizen, constituent representation. Seek an active legislative body made up of duly appointed representatives of every district in Nepal. No professional politicians here. You can't save Nepal without the involvement of everyone, so get your lazy government backsides out of kathmandu and listen to the voices of your countrymen for once; this is the way to do it.

6. Enact swift and severe punishment for those in the RNA who commit atrocities. You can't take the moral high-ground when your army is no better than the maoists. Train new RNA recruits on human rights issues.

7. Establish an office tasked with the management and unification of foreign aid in Nepal. The aid sector is a corrupt mess and is the root of most government corruption in Nepal. This office would develop a coherent theme for development. All foreign projects must pass through this office. No bribes or Pajeros allowed.

8. Re-establish full press and media freedoms. This time, enact strict libel and accuracy statutes. It's never been done, buy why not? Make journalists be able to prove what they assert under penalty of law. If the RNA is torturing someone, give the sources and photos. Call it the reader's "freedom of accuracy" statute.

9. Establish term limits for all elected officials. Four years ought to do the trick. Standardize their duties so new members don't waste time learning how to play government. A four-year term is just enough for a politician to do his job before he learns how to steal. It also keeps vilagers and city people alike involved in the political process because they have to pay enough attention in order to elect their best representatives each four years.

10. Ban elected officials from sponsoring any extra-governmental street demonstrations. Remove them from office if they are caught paying for a student protest. This will teach the bums to work through and respect the democratic process rather than throw a tantrum.

11. Tuck Paras away for a few years. Get him out of the public eye. It will help everyone heal.

Ok, now it's your turn. Add to this list, dismiss this list and supply your own, argue one or all of the points on this list, but get involved! Blogdai gets a lot of complaints about being cynical and crabby, so here's a chance to offer something practical for a change. Remember, your ideas don't have to stick with democracy. Pick anything that you think best fits the people of Nepal and their history and culture. Go!


Sunday, August 14, 2005

We Never Talk Anymore

It occurs to blogdai that Nepal may be unfit to host a legitimate democracy.

Nepal's intelligencia suggest that democracy is no more than the right to liberty and personal freedoms and must be restored immediately. Absent is the talk of setting differences aside and really reaching out to the opposition, or forging a common agenda.

This is a misinterperetation of democracy on a most fundamental level.

Democracy is not some naturally occuring phenomenon that flourishes whenever people are given freedom. No, democracy is HARD WORK. It requires some very difficult choices against basic human nature in order to be successful. Our nature as humans is to survive, compete and advance ourselves and our tribe--at the expense of others if need be. A real democracy demands one subjugate personal gain for the gain of the greater society.

Essentially, if you're in it for yourself, you're not in it for democracy.

It has been said that democracy "balances the needs of the majority with the rights of the minority." Is there a politician or activist in Nepal that gives even a hint of understanding this concept? Show me an instance were a politician, Maoist or student leader willfully ceded some authority or power because they thought it was for the greater good of Nepal; and I'll show you a person who, in all probability, is no longer influential.

Another insightful person distilled the definition of democracy down to "the art of compromise." With this in mind, we witness the Parties refusal to to speak to the King, journalist who refuse to speak to the King, and Maoists who now not only refuse to speak to the King, but refuse to come to any peace-talks that do not enhance some perceived tactical purpose. True democrats would never burn bridges this way. Today we even hear news of the UML slamming M. K. Nepal for talking-to and allying with the former Deuba government in an effort to present some form of united front based on compromise. http://kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?&nid=48730

Nope, blogdai now thinks that Nepal has been influenced by India for so long that it is incapable of political fair-play.

We in Nepal don't deserve democracy because we don't understand that freedom and personal liberty are mere biproducts of democracy; achieved only through great cost and political sacrifice.

Nepal must never seek to "restore" that past condition that masqueraded as democracy. Unless fundamental (yes, perhaps constitutional) changes are put in place to insure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated, the opportunistic and inherently corrupt would once again misuse the system and return Nepal to the brink of chaos.

Perhaps a "democracy-lite" would be a better first step. Start with mandating transparency and independent oversight on all government functions.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Talking Points

---Blogdai has heard your pleas and is calling a temporary moratorium on all ambassador bashing. Thank you and stop clapping please.

----Unbelievably dead-on article in this week's New York Times book review. Titled: "Bad News," the article highlights the decreasing credibility of the mainstream media as well as those of us in the Blogosphere. Phrases like "..limited consumer interest in the truth," and "The blogoshpere has more checks and balances than the conventional media; only they are different" are just a few of the revelations in this powerhouse article.

-----Can't make up my mind today. There is a palpable realization that the King is wasting his chance to make some real changes, but I can't decide if this is a cold, calculated maneuver towards autocracy or the same bumbling ineffective governance that typifies Nepal politics. Can't see why the King would string everyone along if he were just going to permanently take-over. This only gives the pundits of the world more fuel for resistance.

------Missing Texas trekker appears to have been lost on the Jiri/Lukla trail. It's a slippery slog in many places--with or without a monsoon--so this guy could have fallen anywhere. That section from Bupsa to Puiyan is constantly washed-out and is held together by log splices in the trail. I'd look there first.

-------Our field people have the latest on trekking conditions in all the major regions. We'll post the details soon. It would probably be useful to find out where the Maoists extort the most from tourists. Any readers with special info, share it in the comments, if you will.

--------This is my new, non-cynical tone. I plan on being politically correct and inoffensive from here on out......NOT!